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Dr. Hu has 16 years of research experience in human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) with diverse graduate and postdoctoral training ranging from fungal biochemistry, marine molecular biology, C elegans genetics, budding yeast biochemistry/genetics, mouse toxicology, and stem cell biology. His laboratory is actively studying the roles of BET proteins in cellular reprogramming, pluripotency, differentiation, cellular stress and inflammation. He is the first to convert primary human cancer cells into iPSCs. His reprogramming method has been used widely by fellow scientists and his human iPSC lines are used worldwide via distribution by WiCell. The research in the Hu laboratory has been focused on human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and epigenetics. His lab has identified the short isoform of human BRD3, BRD3R, as a promoter of human iPSC generation from fibroblasts. The subsequent studies in his lab revealed that mild chemical inhibition of human BET proteins enhances iPSC reprogramming from fibroblasts, and that an array of dominant negative human BET deletion fragments (BRD2, BRD3 and BRD4) enhances pluripotency reprogramming mainly by alleviating the reprogramming stress. Over the years, his lab provides significant insights into human pluripotency reprogramming. He developed the concepts of reprogramome, reprogramming legitimacy, and reprogramming stress. Applying some of these concepts, Dr. Hu’s lab revealed that ribosome biogenesis is the first major cellular process that is authentically reprogrammed by the Yamanaka factors, and that some responsive transcription factors are quickly reprogrammed by the Yamanaka factors. His lab also demonstrated that KLF4 quickly reprograms the pluripotency surface marker gene, PODXL, which encodes the carrier protein of TRA-1-60 and TRA-1-81. Dr. Hu recently redefined mammalian totipotency. His lab continues to decipher the molecular underpinnings of human pluripotency reprogramming, which remains as a black box to scientists. The second line of research in Hu laboratory is the roles of BET proteins in disease development. BET (Bromodomain Extra Terminal) proteins are major transcription regulators, and one of their prominent biochemical property is binding to acetylated chromatin via their bromodomains. His lab is actively exploring BET roles in cellular stress and inflammation using both conditional KO mouse models and human iPSC-derived cellular models. Targeting the BET functions holds promise for curing many BET-related diseases. Given the toxic natures and pan-BET targeting of the current BET inhibitors, his lab is also investigating alternative inhibition of BET functions rather than targeting their bromodomains. Hu lab uses a variety of technologies including molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, genomics, high-performance computing, bioinformatics, and transgenic mouse models. Dr. Hu is also passionate about empowering fellow bench scientists, students and postdocs by publication of his layman tutorials/protocols in bioinformatics and cellular reprogramming.

Education/Academic qualification

BS in Agronomy, Central China Agriculture University

Postdoctoral Fellowship, C. Elegans Genetics, Cornell University

MPH, Fungal Biochemistry, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

PhD, Marine Molecular Biology, The University of Hong Kong

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Human Pluripotent Stem Cells, The University of Wisconsin - Madison

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Budding Yeast Biochemistry/Genetics, University of Pittsburgh


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